Al-Rihla and Curriculum Theory: A Qualitative Comparative Study of Contemporary and Historical Muslim Travelers in Search of Knowledge
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The purpose of this interdisciplinary study was to explore the experiences of al-rihla of International Muslim Graduate Students and to compare them to those of the Medieval Muslim Travelers. This qualitative study expands on the sparse existing literature by providing a new perspective for International Muslim Graduate Students' experiences of al-rihla and their role as cultural agents through an autoethnographic account and in-depth interviews with international Muslim graduate students. The study also makes a comparison of al-rihla in search of knowledge between International Muslim Graduate Students and Medieval Muslim Travelers. The naturalistic paradigm of inquiry was used in this study to acquire and analyze data. The data were collected from three resources: the auto-ethnographic account of the researcher, in-depth interviews with seven international Muslim graduate students, and the al-rihla accounts of three Medieval Muslim Travelers. Data analysis showed that educational experiences of Muslim travelers, over time, have been strongly influenced by three major factors: 1) religious beliefs about knowledge and the search for knowledge, 2) culture and cultural identity, and 3) issues of political power and positionality. Discussions of the al-rihla of international Muslim graduate students include the role of institutions of higher education as places and spaces for public pedagogy that can eliminate cultural differences and bridge cultural gaps by raising awareness of Islam as a culture and the empowerment of international Muslim graduate students as cultural agents of peace.
Mohammed, Methal R. (2011). Al-Rihla and Curriculum Theory: A Qualitative Comparative Study of Contemporary and Historical Muslim Travelers in Search of Knowledge. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from